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Jon Gruden Can’t Explain Why He Sent A Racist Email About DeMaurice Smith

Photo by Chris Unger/Getty Images

The Wall Street Journal just published a story about an email that Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden sent in 2011. The email is very racist, and Gruden sent it despite describing himself to the WSJ as a person who does not have a "racial bone" in his body.

The email in question was sent on July 21, 2011. At the time, the NFL was in the middle of a work stoppage initiated by the owners after the league and players' association were unable to come to a consensus on a new collective bargaining agreement. Gruden, apparently unhappy with how NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith was representing the players, sent an email to Bruce Allen, who was then the president of the Washington Football Team, that contained a racist remark about Smith.

From the WSJ:

“Dumboriss Smith has lips the size of michellin tires,” he wrote in the email reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. 


The Journal reports that Gruden's email was included in an email chain between multiple parties who were discussing a variety of topics, including a TMZ story about Tiger Woods getting rid of his caddie. The message was uncovered during the NFL's investigation into various instances of workplace misconduct within the Washington Football Team front office. Gruden was not an NFL coach when he sent the email, but was instead working as a color analyst for ESPN on Monday Night Football broadcasts.

Gruden was asked to explain the email by the Journal, and his attempt at an apology was not very good. After saying he was "really sorry," Gruden claimed that he sometimes refers to people whom he thinks are liars as having "rubber lips" and that in this case he just went "too far." Then, as if reading from the Helplessly Try To Convince People That You Aren't Racist playbook, he started talking about the nature of his bones:

“I was upset,” Gruden said. “I used a horrible way of explaining it.” 

“I don’t think he’s dumb. I don’t think he’s a liar,” Gruden said. “I don’t have a racial bone in my body, and I’ve proven that for 58 years.” 

The Raiders play the Bears on Sunday, and if Gruden is on the sideline for that game, his postgame press conference has a chance to be even more pathetic than the performance Urban Meyer gave earlier this week.

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